In his book Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website, SEO and online marketing expert Jon Rognerud shows you how to build a high-performance website and get top ranking on all search engines. In this edited excerpt, the author offers some tips for working keywords into your site content in order to attract the search engines.

When it comes to content creation, the cheapest option is writing it yourself. Don't get scared at the thought of writing. The type of writing you do for website is different than the formal writing required for academia. It's a little bit more restrictive than creative writing but only in the sense that you have to write with keyword optimization in mind.

If you're a newbie to internet marketing, you might be wondering, "What the heck is keyword optimization?" It sounds more complex than it is. Basically, keyword optimization is making sure your content contains enough instances of your keywords, which are words or phrases commonly used in search engines to find what you offer. For example, if you're selling real estate in Florida, your keywords may be "florida real estate," "jacksonville florida real estate," "orlando homes for sale," "palm beach houses for sale," etc.

You can find keywords by using keyword research tools and analyzers. This is software that tells you each of the combinations used with a particular keyword, along with how many times the original keyword and its combinations have been used. You can either use paid keyword analyzers, or you can use the popular Google keyword research tool, which is offered for free in the Google AdWords toolset.

How do you use a keyword analyzer tool? They're all the same: You enter in the desired keyword and are given a list of results. Paid keyword analyzers return more specific results, while free ones return more basic information. If you find that your keyword receives a lot of visitors--from 20,000 to 30,000 visitors a month for exact matching terms as a minimum--these are the keywords you may want to consider as part of your keyword optimization strategy.

As you review the keywords, think about how you can break them out into logical, related groups. If your site is fairly new, start with the less competitive terms and build out using longer phrases to get some traffic and conversions.

When you've selected your keywords, you're ready to write your content. Here's where the keyword optimization takes shape. What you need to do is repeat your keyword several times throughout your content. Generally, you want your keyword to appear 2 to 5 percent of the time. For example, if you're writing an article of 500 words, you'll want your keyword to appear at least 10 times but no more than 30.

You might be wondering, "What if the nature of my website can't use keywords that often?" This could be the case for websites with a community theme or those promoting more creative content. You'll have to include separate sections that contain optimized content that still relates to your site. For example, if you're running a site related to "fan fiction," you could create articles that talk about how to create fan fiction (with "fan fiction" being the optimized keyword). Try to get content ideas first by asking your community and reviewing logs and analytics, and build keyword lists into your posts from there. You could also include articles that while not relating to fan fiction could still be of interest to your audience. Example keywords could be writing novels, writing movie scripts and self-publishing.

By including optimized content on a website that would otherwise not contain such content, you get the advantage of self-expression while making sure your site gets seen by search engine bots.

As you write your content, make sure it sounds natural and is enjoyable for visitors. Although the goal is to include your desired keyword 2 to 5 percent of the time, if you use it in a context that's inappropriate, you turn away visitors. In situations where using your desired keyword would make the read a chore for visitors, you need to substitute another keyword that makes more sense.

Copywriting Tips: Good Copywriting vs. Keyword Stuffing

  • Purpose. Quality keyword writing is a multipurpose exercise. You're serving the search engines and the readers, but write for the readers first.
  • Search engines. The obvious choice is to rank at the top of the relevant organic listings and avoid being banned.
  • Your reader. What is the purpose of your writing for the reader? Do you want your reader to act, such as clicking on a link, visiting your site, submitting an email address, downloading a document or purchasing a product?
  • Re-examine your subject. Are your subject and purpose well aligned? You might need to adjust or narrow your subject.
  • Total quantity. What is the total number of words or pages you expect in your final project?
  • Total keywords and phrases. What are the keywords and phrases you'll incorporate in your project?
  • Density. Be careful of the keyword lists you take on. Generally speaking, if you have a long keyword list and require many keywords in your text, most search engines will rank the web page low and you may be unable to achieve the results you want. Don't place too much focus on it, but think/write naturally and continue testing.
  • Format. In what format will you create the project, and what formats will you use for the final version?
  • Competitive views. What layouts, structure and keywords do your competitors use?